Assault awareness

Last month it was reported that someone in student housing was sexually assaulted. Officials say that this kind of thing happens, unfortunately, but many groups at Portland State are working together to combat sexual violence and provide resources to victims.

Last month it was reported that someone in student housing was sexually assaulted. Officials say that this kind of thing happens, unfortunately, but many groups at Portland State are working together to combat sexual violence and provide resources to victims.

There were four reported sexual assaults on and near Portland State’s campus in 2005. These are the most recent officially reported statistics from Campus Public Safety.

The university must follow the Clery Act, a nationwide act that requires campuses to disclose crime on and around campus. Under the Clery Act, PSU does not have to report the 2006 stats until later this year.

Two of the reported sexual assaults in 2005 took place in student housing and two were on public property near campus. According to Campus Public Safety Chief Michael Soto, that number is low compared to other parts of the city. There were six reported sexual assaults on or near campus in 2003 and seven in 2004.

Soto attributes the low number to the communication and action taken by his office, the Women’s Resource Center, Residence Life, the Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) and many other departments on campus.

“We are fighting crime pretty well together,” he said.

Working together

Last spring Campus Public Safety and the Women’s Resource Center worked together to investigate a possible rape that might have occurred at a party in the West Hall residence building.

No hard evidence was found, but it led the groups to start an informational campaign about sexual assault, as well as giving them incentive to get out anonymous report forms.

This is just one example of on-campus groups working together.

Angela Jensen is the coordinator for the Interpersonal Violence Program, which is run through the Women’s Resource Center. She is an advocate for victims of sexual assault and keeps communication lines open to SHAC, Residence Life and Campus Public Safety.

Jensen would like to see an end to sexual violence, but she is aware that it happens.

“There is sexual assault,” she said. “It happens and it’s a reality.”

That’s why she and other departments are there-to help victims stay safe, she said.

“I support what the different departments do and definitely we all want to keep people safe.”

Combating potential incidents

In an effort to prevent possible sexual assaults, Soto said Campus Public Safety is targeting underage drinking parties in campus housing to try and prevent possible alcohol-related assaults in advance.

Sex Signals, a humorous sexual assault awareness program, will come to PSU from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Multicultural Center located inside the Smith Memorial Student Union.

SHAC Nurse Manager Nanci Feltner said physical treatment, sexually transmitted illness medication and emergency contraception they give to victims play a big part in helping victims move on from an attack.

“Knowing that you are protected against pregnancy and sexually transmitted illnesses is the first step to letting your mind heal.”

SHAC will be spending time this year talking to girls on campus about issues such as safe zones and date rape. There are even groups on campus, like Men Against Rape, advocate sexual assault prevention.

Corey Ray, director of Residence Life, said he has worked at many different universities, and Portland State is one of the best when it comes to providing resources and advocacy for sexual assault victims. Residence Life staff are trained to deal with sexual assault scenarios and communicate with the Women’s Resource Center in crisis situations.

What many of these groups agree on is the importance of victims reporting the assault. The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network reports that 59 percent of sexual assaults are unreported.

Aimee Shattuck, former coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center and current acting director for Student Activities and Leadership Programs, said she understands that people might not want to talk because of fear or trauma, but there are resources available everywhere on campus for them.

“If people are going to report they need to be supported in all sorts of ways,” she said. “It’s not ever too late to report.”

Here are some steps you can take if you have been or think you may have been sexually assaulted. (Note: Call 911 immediately if the assault just happened or you need medical attention.)

Get treated

Visit the Center for Student Health and Counseling. Nurses can test for sexually transmitted illnesses, prescribe medications for chlamydia and gonorrhea, and also prescribe emergency contraception.

If an assault has occurred within 84 hours, victims may visit the Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) emergency room to have them collect forensic evidence for an investigation.

Get support

Talk to the Women’s Resource Center on campus at 1802 S.W. 10th Avenue & Montgomery Street, or call 503-725-5605 to talk to Interpersonal Violence Program coordinator Angela Jensen. These sources offer information and can provide victims with assistance.

Get justice

Report the assault to Campus Public Safety at 503-725-4407 or the Portland Police Bureau at 503-823-3333. If victims are able to obtain a forensic evidence sample from OHSU, a police report can be filed.

Anonymous report forms are also available at

Stay safe

If you live in university housing and don’t feel safe, Residence Life can immediately relocate you. If you live off campus, emergency student housing can be arranged.